The Other Mother
Rachel M. Harper — 2022
A page-turning generational saga about a young man's search for a parent he never knew, and a moving portrait of motherhood, race, and the truths we hide in the name of family. Jenry Castillo is a musical prodigy, raised by a single mother in Miami, who arrives at Brown University on a scholarship—but also to learn more about his late father, Jasper Patterson, a famous ballet dancer who died tragically when Jenry was two. On his search, he meets his estranged grandfather, Winston Patterson, a legendary professor of African American history and a fixture at the Ivy League school, who explodes his world with one question: Why is Jenry so focused on Jasper, when it was Winston’s daughter, Juliet, who was Jenry’s mother’s lover? Juliet is the parent he should be looking for—his other mother. Revelation follows revelation as each member of Jenry’s family steps forward to tell the story of his origin. Cartwheeling between the past and the present to stitch together the web of secrecy binding this family together while keeping them apart, The Other Mother is a celebration of love and resilience—masterfully exploring the intersections of race, class, and sexuality; the role of biology in defining who belongs to whom; and the complicated truth of what it means to be a family.